New Grading Policy Makes It Really, Really Hard for Denton ISD Students to Fail

ReportCard.jpg
amboo who?
A Denton ISD student's future report card in life. No late work accepted.

Denton ISD's new grading policy rolls out today with the first day of school, to the delight of middle and high school students and the chagrin of their teachers. The district-wide policy veritably ensures that Denton students have to work harder to fail than to pass their classes. Their future college professors thank the district in advance.

The radical new policy ensures that procastinators -- i.e. every student ever -- do not receive zeros or incompletes for late assignments. Rather, teachers must accept the students' work through the end of the grading cycle. Students also have the right to retake tests, and the higher grade will be used as the final grade.

"Everything is very individualistic in regards to the campus, and per student. You work with every student differently to allow them to reach their potential," says Mario Zavala, a spokesman for Denton ISD. "We think overall, it's going back to the students being accountable. At the same time the students that need a little extra time to master the concepts will have that time." And it doesn't just affect the struggling students: Zavala suggested that a student who makes, say, an 89 on a test would be able to retake the test for a higher grade.

The district first announced the change last spring to uneasy teachers and administrators across the district. "Life lessons will be learned, and true accountability will follow," says Superintendent Dr. Jamie Wilson in a statement defending the policy. "We have to hold them accountable with more than just a grade."

While the policy may leave secondary school students with squeaky clean academic records, parents and teachers are more concerned about the consequences of allowing kids so much leniency.

Some parents suggest that kids will have no idea what to do in college and the real world, when they are not allowed an indeterminate amount of time to turn in work. One Denton ISD teacher, who asked not to be named, says the new policy was infuriating at first.

"When the new grading policy was first introduced ... I was angry," the teacher said in an e-mail. "I even went to my principal and said, 'This is it. I am retiring.' He told me to calm down and that things would be OK."

So far, the principal has been right: Individual schools are finding ways to circumnavigate the district's agenda. Each school is given the district guidelines, and they may adjust their own policies within those guidelines. One high school limits students to five days after the grading cycle to turn in an assignment, and after that point students are given a zero.

"When our high school's policy was introduced, it is really better in many ways," the teacher says. "It seems to me that our campus took all of our policies, listened to teachers, and set some very good grading practices. In other words, the bark was worse than the bite. I can definitely live with this." The teacher cautioned that the other high schools in Denton may have different policies in effect.

As of Day 1, chaos has not erupted in the halls of Denton's schools. "Students arrived today, and they expected a far different policy than we have," the teacher says. "A lot of smiles quickly faded." But then again, teachers are still weeks away from the end of the first six weeks. No feedback yet on what happens when students inevitably thrust a mountain of assignments to their teachers on the last few days of the grading cycle.


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18 comments
russell.allison1
russell.allison1

I have a kid in a Denton middle school.  His mother pretty much rides herd over the school thing and for at least one kid in the district, he'll still have deadlines and accountability.  It's been that way for a while-if you wanted your kids to excel at school, you have to pay a whole lot of attention to the stuff that the school no longer does.

thechuckwilliams
thechuckwilliams

1. It's procRastinators

2. Were you a product of Denton ISD schools?

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

This policy is utterly insane.  It not only makes Denton students less competitive for colleges and jobs, but it also fails to instill American values such as "hard work is the best way to get ahead". 


These ultra-liberal "every child gets a ribbon" educators are enemies of the state, and it is child abuse to have such lax policies as retaking tests and having no deadlines for turning in assigned work.  (Just imagine your boss in a business expecting a report on Wednesday, and you don't produce it for another week, claiming the deadline wasn't fair.)


I don't know why Denton can't hire more professional teachers and administrators, or why parents are screaming bloody murder, but it's good to be warned about NOT hiring Denton public school graduates, and that word will get out very quickly in the business community. 


Contrast that with Highland Park which has very high educational standards, and whose graduates are highly praised at business and in colleges. 


Were I unlucky enough to be a Denton ISD taxpayer, I'd demand my money back.


Life isn't always fair, and you can't make it more fair by lowering standards of performance.  You just make it more unfair AND less rewarding.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Denton ISD in the vanguard of politician and lobbyist early learning.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

...and every student gets a trophy at the end of the school year.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

"Life lessons will be learned, and true accountability will follow,"

Well, yes and no.

russp
russp

Great; so they will pass in school and be ready to fail in the real world. Good job Denton ISD.

James080
James080

Great news, because when I hire one of these graduates and they screw up their work, I'm going to keep paying them while they do the same assignment over and over and over until they get it right, just as they were taught. Right.....

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Just like Lake Woebegone, where all the women are beautiful, all the men are handsome and all of the children are above average.


I'd be willing to bet that the sports and extracurricular programs hand out trophies for Excellent Participation.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@russel.allison1

When my kids were in gov't school, we had a running joke: Kids spends all day at school being taught social skills, discipline, respect, proper behavior. Home is where they learned all that, plus reading, writing, math and science.

DerpDudeTX
DerpDudeTX

@noblefurrtexas Don't want your kids in DISD? Send them to private school, home school, or move. Better yet, try voting in school board elections. DISD didn't even have an election this year because of unopposed candidates. The prior year less than 3000 voted in the election. Clearly everyone likes the board and its decisions if they keep them in place.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bgoad

...they tried to give me cancer...

Pity it didn't take.

DerpDudeTX
DerpDudeTX

@James080 You must not work where I do. I have plenty of people that don't do their job correctly or on time and are still here year after year. It's more of a who you know rather than a can you perform well.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@James080 Yep can't wait till this misguided children gain the experience where a deadline is not just a suggestion.   Way to prepare for failure

smiling1809
smiling1809

@TheRuddSki I went to high school with him and knew him, and my dad had dealings with him in law enforcement. We predicted he would become a serial killer. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@smiling1809

I know nothing of a serial killer, I didn't watch the vid. I was making a negative reference to the Jones videos on almost every thread, snark 'n run.

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